Read PHAEDRA of Hymen , free online book, by Hilda Doolittle, on

Think, O my soul, of the red sand of Crete; think of the earth; the heat burnt fissures like the great backs of the temple serpents; think of the world you knew; as the tide crept, the land burned with a lizard-blue where the dark sea met the sand.

Think, O my soul what power has struck you blind is there no desert-root, no forest-berry pine-pitch or knot of fir known that can help the soul caught in a force, a power, passionless, not its own?

So I scatter, so implore Gods of Crete, summoned before with slighter craft; ah, hear my prayer:

Grant to my soul the body that it wore, trained to your thought, that kept and held your power, as the petal of black poppy, the opiate of the flower.

For art undreamt in Crete, strange art and dire, in counter-charm prevents my charm limits my power: pine-cone I heap, grant answer to my prayer.

No more, my soul as the black cup, sullen and dark with fire, burns till beside it, noon’s bright heat is withered, filled with dust and into that noon-heat grown drab and stale, suddenly wind and thunder and swift rain, till the scarlet flower is wrecked in the slash of the white hail.

The poppy that my heart was, formed to blind all mortals, made to strike and gather hearts like flame upon an altar, fades and shrinks, a red leaf drenched and torn in the cold rain.